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Why Should I Sing?

Singing is a major part of what the church does when it gathers weekly. 

Maybe you’ve asked yourself the question of why we sing, or maybe you just accept it as something we do.  Furthermore, why would God tell us to do something even though we aren’t all naturally gifted in that area?  I hope to address these questions and more as we explore why, I believe, God has called us all to sing as well as the benefits and blessings which can come from obeying His command to worship Him through song.   

Did you know that the Bible mentions singing over 400 times and directly commands all the saints to sing over 50 times? In contrast, the word “worship” is used only 182 times.  Maybe that’s why we commonly exchange the word “worship” with “singing”. Even without diving deep into scripture the message is clear: we are called to and made to sing as a way of worshiping God. 

C.S. Lewis in his book Reflections on the Psalms, makes a good point when it comes to praising God, “How much does one talk about and ‘praise’ a good work of art, a song, a painting, a sunset, a good joke, a fun game? How much more should we be praising the worthiest object of our lives?” If we are honest with ourselves, when we gather to praise God together, do we treat the Great Shepherd and His kingdom like a priceless treasure found in a field (Matthew 13:44-46)? Or do we simply go about our services together unimpressed and unaltered by the revelation God has given to us through the Word of God and through creation? When we gather, it is crucially important that we don’t respond to the sound of the worship team, the vocals, the songs themselves, the lights, etc. but we respond to God and His revelation to His people. Voices, instruments, and musical preference can and will change, but the Word of the Lord will last forever (Matt. 24:35, 1 Peter 1:25, Isaiah 40:8)! 

If you know me well, you know that I am not a naturally vocal person. I would much rather spend my time in quiet reflection, but the Lord has shown me through His word, and the examples of others, the benefit of stepping out of my comfort zone to learn new ways to obey Him through physical expressions of worship. It was a little uncomfortable to raise my hands in church, knowing that others would see me more clearly. It was even more uncomfortable to sing out in church before I took vocal lessons and my voice cracked when I tried to sing the high notes. It was really uncomfortable when I felt God calling me to my knees before Him with my face on the ground during a worship service. But throughout all these experiences, my obedience to God through worship was and is always met with encouragement though the Holy Spirit, and a feeling of a closer, more intimate presence of God. My prayer is that every single one of our worship services brings God’s people closer to Him. 

Here are a few biblical reasons I believe God has called His church to sing together: 

  • In the Bible, singing is a natural response to God’s revelation and presence.  There is NO worship (of any kind) without God’s revelation.  Let me say that again, we are unable to worship Him without Him revealing Himself to us first. Singing is a natural response to God’s revelation and presence. When the Israelites crossed over the Red Sea, they clearly saw and experienced God’s salvation.  What was their response? They stopped right on the shore and worshipped through song (with instruments) and dance, and they were so excited that they even repeated some of the song.  When the Ark (signifying God’s presence with is people) was brought back to Jerusalem a great celebration of worship broke out among the people, “And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, with songs[c] and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.” (2 Samuel 6:5) The psalms are loaded with examples of singing in response to God’s revelation and His presence.  And they are examples of singing in and of themselves to God’s revelation.  Think about the amazing worship that will happen when we are fully reconnected to God in Heaven, 

“…a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.’”

I believe that every time God reveals Himself to us (mainly through his Word) an appropriate and natural response is to lift our voices and praise Him as an act of worship. Praise the Lord for His Word! Whenever you feel as if God has not revealed Himself to you, just open the Bible and read with a heart willing to receive, and you can be sure that He has revealed Himself to you.  

  • Right along with singing as a response to God’s revelation, we see that singing is a way to remember or recall how God has revealed Himself to us. Singing is a way to remember all that God has done.  In the same example of the Exodus, the Israelites wrote a song to remind themselves of the salvation of God.  Every time they gathered to sing it, their minds would surely go back to images and feelings that took them right back to the shore of the Red Sea. Many of the Psalms are written in this fashion, as a reminder of the faithfulness and goodness that God showed His people bringing them to the promised land. I tend to think of Paul and Silas, as they were beaten and imprisoned in Philippi (Acts 16:16-24). I think the last thing I would want to do if I were flogged and thrown into a prison would be to sing. But when we read the story, we find that Paul and Silas around midnight were “praying and singing hymns to God.”  We don’t know this for certain, but I would guess that they were singing hymns that reminded them of the faithfulness and sovereignty of God. In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Paul says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What an example he set while in prison!   

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.” Psalm 107:1-3

I hope these examples of worship are as encouraging to you as they are to me. Check back every few weeks as I hope to keep you updated with more reasons why we are called to sing praises to our glorious Father. 

-Pastor Jonathan

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